MBA Candidate 2013
Concentrations: Entrepreneurship / Marketing
Industry/ Field of work: IT Business Development
Undergraduate degree in: Marketing
Undergraduate School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Career Goal: Own and operate my own technology company
Organizations involved with: MBAA
Linkedin Profile: James DeMory
What prompted you to return to school to achieve your MBA?
I returned to school because I was unhappy with the career path I was on. I have had multiple sales jobs, and was working to "climb the corporate ladder", and although I had success, I never enjoyed my jobs. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit, so I decided to pursue that avenue. When researching colleges, I saw that UIC had an incredible entrepreneurship program with Tech Ventures being a highly successful class. I knew that if I took advantage of what the UIC program had to offer, and worked hard to gain as much knowledge as possible, I could change my career path, and consequently, my life. Nearing the end of my MBA program now, I can say with confidence that my life has been improved beyond measure.
What was the most important factor for you in choosing an MBA program (or factors you considered)?
The most important factor was the class offerings. As I mentioned, getting out of sales and into a position to take my ideas to the next level was my number one priority. The UIC Technology Ventures program and push of social entrepreneurship was a perfect fit for me. In addition, I loved my undergraduate experience at UIC. The faculty and advisors have always been there to help out and educate. The school itself was a melting pot of talent and energy. And the opportunities to mesh with the "real world" were everywhere.
Why did you choose UIC Liautaud for your MBA?
The UIC Liautaud program was a clear frontrunner when looking at options for my MBA. My experiences as an undergrad, combined with the work the school is doing with the entrepreneurial community was a great fit with my goals.
Since you have started the program, what has been the most unexpected gain the MBA has given you?
I never expected to meet the successful entrepreneurs that I have met with. I have worked directly with four different CEOs of large software companies, the founder of Priceline.com, three different Venture Capital firms, and those relationships are just beginning. I will be traveling all over the country to participate in business plan competitions with the chance to win over $1 million. I knew that I would get a great education, but I never expected my life to take this incredibly fortunate turn.
Which class/professor has been your favorite thus far and why?
As if you couldn't tell from my earlier answers, my Tech Ventures class has been my favorite class. It has taught me how to take an idea, and turn it into a real business that could gain investment. I have learned the difference between a good idea and a bad idea. I have learned how to get in front of the right people to get the investment I would need for my company, and I have had the privilege of working with some of the most brilliant minds in Chicago. Rod Shrader has been an excellent professor, and has helped push us along. We have now incorporated our own software company, and are gaining traction across Chicago. We hope to secure our first round of funding by May, and we owe it all to UIC.
What is your favorite aspect of the UIC campus and why?
I enjoy the new Douglas Hall. The building has convenient study rooms, large classrooms, and updated electronics to make the learning experience much more enjoyable. The people in the Liautaud office are pretty cool too.
How would you define the Liautaud student?
A Liautaud student is a highly motivated person that will not take "no" for an answer. When they hit a road block, they find a way around it, or push right through it. A Liautaud student will always be there to help another team member, and they work to build a strong community. Liautaud students are a rare breed, but that is what it takes to be a success.
What advice would you provide to incoming UIC Liautaud MBA students?
I would suggest that incoming students work with their advisors before choosing their classes and program. There are a wide variety of classes that can be taken, that are not easily discovered without some guidance. By working with the UIC advisors, it will be much easier to plan a class pattern that not only meets the core requirements, but allows the student to get the most out of the program, and enjoy the time spent doing it.
Jim DeMory and his teammate won 2nd place in the Spirit of Enterprise Business Plan Competition. Read more about it by clicking here.